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A Closer Look at San Mateo County’s Hot 2021 Housing Market

Joe Polyak February 22, 2022

A Closer Look at San Mateo County’s Hot 2021 Housing Market
A Closer Look at San Mateo County’s Hot 2021 Housing Market
The latest numbers are out, proving once again the San Francisco Bay Area real estate market is hot! We recently got a closer look at data specific to San Mateo County, and it shows some interesting trends when it comes to single-family homes and condos/townhomes.
It’s new data that could have an impact if you’re considering purchasing or selling a home or condo in San Mateo County. The data comes from the San Mateo County Association of Realtors. It compares 2021 to 2020 in terms of things like the average sales price, the number of homes on the market and how much homes were selling for over list price.
Single-family homes
First up, let’s look at just single-family homes in San Mateo County. Over the entire span of 2021, around 5,800 homes hit the market. By the very last day of 2021, 195 homes were listed for sale. Compare that to 2020, when more than 5,100 homes hit the market. Inventory was probably lower because that’s the year the pandemic hit, but what’s interesting is that even when the market started picking up, there was still more inventory left at the end of 2020.

A little more than 4,000 homes sold in San Mateo County in 2020, while more than 5,400 sold by the end of 2021. More homes were selling, but supply was very low. Homes sold much faster in 2021. In 2020, homes stayed on the market for an average of 27 days. In 2021, the average dropped to just 19 days.

I also want to point out home prices. The average sales price in 2020 for single-family homes in San Mateo County was $2.15 million. In 2021, it topped $2.4 million. In terms of the median sales price, it was $1.7 million in 2020 and closer to $1.9 million in 2021. Prices increased about 10-percent in a span of just one year. While the nationwide increase was closer to 20-percent, having an average home sale price approaching $2.5 million in San Mateo County was a crazy number, even for this area.

While selling a home in San Mateo County for over asking price isn’t unusual, the numbers really jumped last year. In 2020, homes sold for about three-percent over asking. In 2021, homes were selling for nine-percent over asking. We saw a lot of bidding wars. Most of our listings last year sold for 10%, 15%, 20% or even more over listing. We had one home that sold for more than $800,000 over list! Typically, December is a slow month for real estate, but this past year was very unusual, and we saw all kinds of new records in 2021.
As for condos and townhomes in San Mateo County, we saw 1,775 hit the market in 2020 and 2,181 in 2021. There were 158 condos/townhomes listed for sale at the end of last year and 196 at the end of 2020. The sales were much higher in 2021. We saw more than 1,900 condo/townhomes sold last year and around 1,200 sold in 2020. That’s credited to a lot of people working from home in 2020 when the pandemic first began. People started to question why they were spending so much on a condo when they could buy a house somewhere else for a lot less money, make the same amount of money, and work from home. I think we saw the condo market begin to pick back up a little last year because some companies started calling their workers back to the office. When comparing the two years, condos and townhomes stayed on the market for about the same number of days, and the average sales price wasn’t that different. The median sales price was identical and the median price per square foot went up just a little. This tells us that at a time when the single-family market was taking off, the condo market didn’t really move. While single-family homes have been selling way over list price, condos and townhomes sold for only about three-percent over in 2021, and one-percent over in 2020.
What’s next?
It’s hard to know what’s for sure going to happen in 2022, but I think we will likely see the condo supply go up, demand pick up, and an increase in condo prices. There are a lot of people priced out of the market right now in terms of single-family homes in San Mateo County. However, we could see some stabilization in the single-family home market this year. We’re going to have to keep a close eye on interest rates for mortgages. Even in late 2021, we saw people getting some really good rates under three-percent. Keep in mind, as rates go up, your purchasing power goes down. However, even if rates hover close to or around four-percent, history shows us that’s still a pretty low rate.

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